With energy storage becoming increasingly popular, the companies exploring for the different metals used in batteries — such as lithium, cobalt and nickel — are ramping up their efforts.

Auroch Minerals (ASX:AOU) is mobilising a drill rig to carry out a 4,000m aircore drill program at the Valdez prospect within its Leinster nickel project in Western Australia.

This will cover the entire strike of the ultramafic unit at Valdez in order to characterise the ultramafics and define possible basal channels in the footwall contact.

Drilling will also attempt to confirm mineralised intersections reported in historical drilling such as 32m grading 0.75 per cent nickel from surface including 4m at 1.55 per cent nickel from 24m, and 16m at 1.07 per cent nickel from 24m including 4m at 1.34 per cent nickel from 24m.

Modelling and interpretation of recently completed reverse circulation drilling, down-hole electromagnetic (EM) surveys and surface fixed-loop EM surveys at the project is currently underway ahead of a targeted drilling program in late July.

Meanwhile, Western Areas’ (ASX:WSA) first diamond hole at the Sahara prospect at its Western Gawler project in South Australia has intersected over 200m of nickel and copper-bearing sulphides.

An average of between 2 per cent and 5 per cent sulphide content was observed across the entire intrusive body with XRF readings, which provided an early picture of a potential find, confirming elevated nickel and copper values.

This is the first hole completed by the company on the Iluka farm-in and joint venture ground.

Western Areas says it will modify its drill plans to focus on the Sahara-Firefly area, which contains numerous interpreted mafic intrusive bodies that remain to be tested.

Galan Lithium (ASX:GLN) has raised $1.6m to fund the continued scoping and pre-feasibility studies of its lithium brine projects in Argentina.

This was achieved through a $1.25m private placement of shares priced at 14c each and an additional $350,000 through an issue of shares to Acuity Capital.

Proceeds will also be used to finalise the Del Condor and Pucara de Salar tenement acquisitions.